Final appointees named to Texas Commission on Virtual Education

State Board of Education Chair Kevin Ellis appointed SBOE Vice Chair Pam Little (R – Fairview) as the final member of the Texas Commission on Virtual Education. Vice Chair Little represents Collin County and part of Dallas County in District 12 and previously served as the vice chair of the Committee on Instruction for the SBOE.

The commission, which was established by HB 3643 (2021 – 87th Regular), will develop and make recommendations regarding the delivery of virtual education in the public school system and state funding for virtual education under the Foundation School Program. The commission will consist of a total of 13 members, all of which are now appointed. The commission is expected to begin its work in February 2022.

On November 10, Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan appointed four members:

  • Rep. Ken King (R – Canadian) currently serves as the Chairman of the House Culture, Recreation and Tourism Committee and is a member of the House Public Education Committee. Rep. King was the author of HB 3643. Previously, King served over 5 years on the Canadian ISD school board.
  • Rep. Matt Shaheen (R – Plano) is currently on several House committees, including the Human Services and State Affairs. Prior to that, he served as a county commissioner in Collin county.
  • Rep. Eddie Morales Jr. (D – Eagle Pass) serves on several House committees, including Defense & Veterans’ Affairs, Homeland Security & Public Safety, and House Administration. Rep. Morales is also a partner at the Langely & Banack law firm.
  • Danny Lovett currently serves as the executive director of the Region 5 education service center.

On November 3, Governor Abbott appointed four members:

  • Rex Gore of Austin was appointed chairman of the commission. He is the president of the PJS of Texas and co-founder of CleanScapes. Gore is a member of the State Board for Educator Certification and a regional board member for IDEA Public Schools.
  • Bernie Francis of Carrollton is the CEO of Business Control Systems. He is a member of the Texas Western Governor’s University Advisory Board and is a gubernatorial appointee to the Texas State University System Board of Regents, the Texas State Technical College System Board of Regents, the Task Force on Higher Education Incentive Funding, and the Select Commission on Higher Education and Global Competitiveness. He has also served as a councilman and mayor pro tem for the City of Carrollton.
  • Hannah Smith of Southlake is counsel for Schaerr Jaffe, LLP and is a trustee for the Carroll Independent School District. 
  • Josue Tamarez Torres of Forney is an experienced master teacher and member of the campus education leadership team for the Dallas Independent School District. 

On October 22, Lt. Governor Patrick appointed four members:

  • Sen. Paul Bettencourt (R – Houston) is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government and is a member on the Senate Education, Finance, and Criminal Justice committees. He previously served as the Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector.
  • Sen. Larry Taylor (R – Friendswood) is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Education. Taylor recently announced that he would not be seeking reelection in 2022.
  • Sen. Royce West (D – Dallas) is Vice-Chair of the Senate Committee on Higher Education and a member of the Senate Education Committee. Sen. West is also the managing partner in the law firm of West & Associates, LLP.
  • Annette Tielle is the Superintendent of Del Valle ISD. She previously served as the Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum at both Comal ISD and Pflugerville ISD.